Back in early August Lawbreakers launched to a fairly mediocre response. The Hero Shooter that was looking to rival games like Overwatch and Gigantic got hit pretty hard by a lack of enthusiasm within the gaming community and it has yet to recover. In fact, things are looking worse and worse for Lawbreakers every week.
At the time of writing, the peak player count for the game on Steam in the past week (Sep 8 – Sep 15) was 298 players. Yep, that is less than 300 people playing Lawbreakers concurrently at the game’s peak. Whilst the PS4 player-count is much more difficult to uncover, anyone who has attempted to join a game via matchmaking (especially here in Australia) will tell you it’s an exercise in futility. The game was essentially dead upon arrival.
When we reviewed Lawbreakers back upon its release, our reviewer stated that:
“Games like this live and breathe on player community and I just don’t know how long it will last when it doesn’t really have a personality to share with the world”.
Safe to say, even our reviewer who predicted a drop in community engagement would be surprised by just how quickly that drop came about.
In a recent interview with Gamespot, Cliff Bleszinki (lead developer on Lawbreakers and industry veteran) discussed in depth the game’s shortcomings, its low player-count, as well as his own personal shortcomings. He stated that:
“I have to keep this game alive, first and foremost. I can be very cocky and very brash on social media. And realising that, you know, we have a fledgling player base. It’s been very humbling for me. I’m going to continue to iterate on this game, continue to add to it. And try to be less of a dick, honestly.”
“Those of you who have been kind enough to drop $30 on this; we’ve got your back and we’re sticking with it.”
Less dicks on the internet is always a positive, but it’s also good to see that Lawbreakers isn’t over and done with just yet. However it really begs the question as to whether or not the game can be saved at this point. And how long do you have to wait before changing a game from a pay to play experience to a free to play experience without pissing off everybody who initially bought the game?